By Deb Silverthorn
Friends and family of Debbie Freed have started a fundraising challenge to honor her bravery, optimism and yoga skills as she battles disease.
Described by those who know her as a lifelong health aficionado, Freed was diagnosed with Stage III pancreatic cancer last November. Her career and personal life have long been about living and being healthy.
“Debbie is the sweetest, most beautiful, caring person ever,” said longtime friend Shelley Finkelstein, who, with 38 of Freed’s closest friends, started Debbie’s Tough AF Yoga Challenge, hoping to honor her by raising money. More than $22,000 has been raised for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network to support research trials and patients battling pancreatic cancer.
Participants are asked to share their poses or attempts to Freed’s Facebook and Instagram pages. Each participant challenges three others to follow suit, each also pledging a donation with their pose.
“We’ve got to get Debbie well. She’s the bravest woman I’ve ever known,” Finkelstein said. “Whatever we can do to help discover anything to help her and other patients, we want to do that and we are doing that.”
Freed, well-known to many as a co-owner and one of the faces of Freed’s Home Furnishings, appeared on commercials for the family business for decades. For years, she has taught yoga and exercise, most recently last fall at her daughter Lindsay Freed Rothlein-Welek’s Kangaroo Kardio. She is a native of Houston, and she and her husband, Howard, are longtime members of Temple Emanu-El.
“When times are hard you know who your friends are and mom has lots of friends,” said her son Clay Freed. “All of this support is healing and incredibly meaningful to us all.”
Donations with or without participation in Debbie’s Tough AF Yoga Challenge can be made to support.pancan.org/goto/debbie. Those participating are asked to share their pose attempts to their social media.